“Discovery” by Rikki Sho and Burudu feat. Amy Claire
For me, “Discovery” is one of those tracks that I know I will continue to come back to, whether it be purposefully or by accident. I live in Ohio. And between harsh winters and nine months of gray days it can be quite depressing at times—I can imagine coming across this song some dark winter morning and being warmed and inspired by the swirling, uplifting melodies and vocals of this tune.
In an electronic music market saturated with short attention span songs this progressive epic is quite refreshing—this is a tune for daybreak and soft comedowns. At just one second over ten minutes, I am always surprised at how quickly I get lost in the narrative of the song: the pulsing interplay between soft kick drum and bubbling bass and the guitar and piano chords chasing Amy’s voice across the soundscape all make for a journey I want to go on over and over.
It is no surprise that this tune is the brain child of four artists—Nakul and Sahil of Burudu, Rikki Sho and vocalist Amy Claire—but how did they do it?
An Interview with the Artists
How did the four of you end up working together? Who approached whom?
Rikki: Burudu (Nakul & Sahil) and I had our own separate releases on a (now defunct) label – Red Light Café Recordings – in 2013.
I loved their release – a stunning single called Georgina – and asked if I could remix it. They agreed and were really pleased with the result. We kept in touch and followed each others work, and I really like their approach to their music so I figured we should work together again.
Burudu: The idea came about to work on a track and we just went with it, it was really organic , and after a lot of back and forth we had a solid song. Eventually the idea of adding vocals to the track came about, Rikki suggested Amy and we absolutely loved her voice.
Amy: Rikki and I are good friends and I have always been a great fan off his chilled out music. In fact it tends to calm me whenever I struggle to get to sleep.
Rikki: Having remembered Amy singing in a Christmas event once, I figured I’d approach her.
Did the four of you work together in person or was this mostly an online collaboration?
Burudu: We wish we did. We were never in the same place.
Rikki: Well I believe, by the time we began the collab, Nakul & Sahil had moved back to India, having been in London. So that side of the collab was all online. Swapping emails, Skype-ing and swapping files over WeTransfer.
Amy: Unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to meet Nakul and Sahil yet but heard their brilliant track when Rikki presented it to me. I have been recording acapella tracks and I believe Rikki introduced Burudu to my work. They were interested in including my vocals in the track they had created with Rikki.
Rikki: For Amy’s part, we spent 2 days (1 day per verse) at her flat, making-do with my little field recorder, some wine, and some chocolate.
Amy: So one night Rikki and I opened a bottle of wine to calm my nerves as I’m a novice at recording with others and used several methods to help my confidence which was wavering under the pressure. And I mean, I put pressure on myself when I make someone a cup of tea, so I’m going be nervous when I’m asked to add to something that is already beautiful. I really didn’t want to create something not worthy of the track. At one point I even made Rikki sit on the sofa with a cushion on his head for me.
The guys asked me to listen to the track and to create lyrics and a melody based on feelings that the music stirred up inside me. To me, it felt as though I was stressed and my mind filled with thoughts and worries. Worrying about how I can be myself in life when so much is expected of me. Where can I go to be allowed to be ‘ok’, ok with bad decisions I’ve made, ok with my funny quirks, ok to be my weight, ok to feel low. Then suddenly the music made me feel like I had walked into a golden corn field with the sun beating down on my skin. As I walked along I felt my fingers brush through the wheat completely releasing my anxiety. Knowing that troubles hadn’t gone, but in this place I could just be myself, whoever I want to be. Just BE.
I sketched down some of these words and very quickly in that one night it all came together. The lyrics written, melody created and my vocals recorded.
Since then Rikki has been liaising with Burudu on my behalf and between them they merged my vocals back into the track then emailed it over to me, which was very exciting.
What was the process like for each of you?
Rikki: Frickin’ awesome. The whole process, for me, feels like it has flowed 99% smoothly. Having learnt a bit about Burudu before the collab, knowing I liked their approach, I obviously made the right choice to collab with the guys. Each of us loved what the other did to the track each time; and our Skype chats were spent mostly agreeing with each other on what we wanted!! I was buzzing from their ideas! We obviously share the same Feels about music.
Nakul: The process was great, as mentioned earlier it was all very organic, nothing was forced and that’s when you really enjoy the process. We started working on this track sometime back and it took us a while to finish it, but keeping in mind that we had four of us sitting in four different parts of the world, I think we did alright.
Sahil: Rikki came along and added a bunch of instruments and sounds before Nakul finished the arrangement. It was all very spontaneous. There was quite a lot of sharing files between us. We thank WeTransfer entirely. It all started with guitars and the feel of the initial idea was quite different to the finished track.
Amy: This was just a new experience for me and very exciting. If I hadn’t been so nervous I believe I would have been able to produce smoother and more confident vocals but am very happy with the end result.
Rikki: The 2 days that formed Amy’s part were equally as awesome. I was literally bursting with excitement hearing what she was coming up with, but I had to keep calm so as not to disrupt her flow. But her flow was certainly flowing, even if her nerves made her think it wasn’t
What was the most important thing you learned from the collaboration?
Amy: So much, as this a new process for me every aspect of this journey has been eye opening and a learning curve for me. I have learnt to become more confident and that nerves only get in the way of success.
Rikki: That I can do collaborations after all, after having tried and failed in the past, mainly because I wanted what I wanted without having to compromise too much :) Recording vocals was also a new experience.
Nakul: Collaborations can be extremely inspiring, when one can witness different creative minds come together and create something, its always special. So yea I’ve learned that I quite enjoy collaborating with other artists.
Sahil: It was so fun. We’re going to be making more music together.
Was there any part of the process that put you out of your comfort zone? If so, what did you learn from that?
Amy: Oh yes, singing in front of others is something I have done before, but usually when singing covers of songs I have practiced and know the song inside out. I can then feel confident enough to play with the tune and vibrato to add a personal edge. However this is the first time since I was a child that I have tackled a vocal from scratch and I found it very difficult at first to sing in front of someone when the end product wasn’t polished.
Burudu: Nothing really put us out of our comfort zone. It was very chilled.
Rikki: No I don’t think so. Recording the vocals, although new, was exciting to do. I loved the whole process. It has been a fantastic experience.
Where did you draw your inspiration from for this track? (doesn’t necessarily have to be a musical source)
Rikki: I’m pretty “on the spot”, and often just go with what I feel at the time. Cheesy as it may sound, the track writes itself. Or the creativity leads me. Burudu’s love of emotion in music certainly inspired me after spending many years reluctantly accepting the notion that “emotion is cheesy”.
Burudu: Monkeys in the distance, drinking baileys, sunbathing.
Describe how you feel about the final product in a word or very short phrase.
Sahil: Open world
Nakul: A Journey
Rikki: RefreshedAndProud. There, that’s 1 word. :)
If you were going on national television to promote this track, what would you wear?
Sahil: Definitely socks.
Nakul: A heart-rate monitor.
Amy: Skinny jeans, a vest top and hoodie unless its somewhere warm, then I’d ‘feminize’ and wear a maxi dress and flip flops.
Rikki: Nothing. Clothes suck. But in case anyone has issues with that, an all black costume with LED lights patterned all over it. But not crazy flashing ones. Ones that gently phase in and out. It’s a chill track, and I am all about the full sensory experience.
As one half of the Altered Echo Project I’d like to extend the gratitude of both Rick and myself to Amy, Rikki, Nakul and Sahil for taking time out of their lives to do this interview for us. The artists can be reached via the electronic means listed below.
The track is available on both BandCamp and SoundCloud
Sound Cloud: https://soundcloud.com/amyclairevocals
Artist Home Page: http://rikkisho.wix.com/rikki-sho-music